The Bookshelf Chronicles: Pt. One

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Last year I did a monthly reading series on my blog, sharing what I had read the previous month and a little mini book review for each read.

When it came time for 2020, I knew I wanted to still share what I’ve been reading, but I wanted to do it a little differently. It was hard for me to keep up with the monthly series – especially in my busiest months of the year.

So this year I am going to do a quarterly series which I have titled “The Bookshelf Chronicles”. This is an ironic title because the books I will be sharing have not actually been living on a bookshelf, but rather in a stack of “2020 reads” on my bedroom floor. Nonetheless, the title remains and I am pumped to share part one today.

January

1. The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander: I actually started this book in December, but finished the second half of it in January. It is a deeply profound book that meditates on the human side of Mary, the Mother of God. Caryll Houselander brings Mary down from the out-of-reach pedestal of perfection we tend to put her on and gives beautiful insights into Mary’s life on earth. I seriously loved this book and will read it again in the future.

2. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis: I started re-reading the Narnia series in December and I finished the series over January and February. I love C.S. Lewis, and I love Narnia and the only thing I have to say about this series is that I am a firm believer that you should read them in the order C.S. Lewis wrote them in – NOT the order they were republished years later. I believe that it is unnecessary to follow the series chronologically and that if you do that, you miss out on the magic of first reading about Narnia through Lucy’s eyes (among many other things). Even if you have read the series before, my challenge to you is to just try reading it in the order he wrote them in, at least once.

3. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis: Same as above.

4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This gets 1/5 stars (if even 1). I really didn’t like the whole story and I especially did not like the ending – it had a chance to redeem itself and then in the final pages it nosedived in the opposite direction.

5. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: Loved this and would highly recommend (as long as you are ok reading a book that deals with serious and heavy topics).

6. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman: Also loved this, it is a sequel to “Beartown” which I read last year. I am a HUGE fan of Fredrik Backman and would definitely recommend reading one of his books.

February

7. The Magician’s Nephew by. C.S. Lewis

8. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis: Another reason I believe you should read the Narnia series in the order C.S. Lewis wrote them, is that there are so many connections and parallels between “The Magician’s Nephew” and “The Last Battle” that I would have missed if I had read “The Magician’s Nephew” first instead of right before “The Last Battle”. There is something profoundly beautiful in reading about the very beginning of Narnia right before you read about the end of Narnia. You just have to trust me on this.

9. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: Took me a little bit to get into this book, but it was actually very good.

March

10. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: An interesting novel set in Australia, with a complicated and heart-breaking moral dilemma. I’d recommend if you can handle reading about very sad situations.

11. The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen: I love everything by Henri Nouwen, so enough said.

12. Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson: Really enjoyed this!

13. The Anti-Mary Exposed by Carrie Gress: A very interesting look into the radical feminist movement of the last 60 years and the destruction it has brought on family, motherhood, and marriage.

14. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: I wanted to reread this classic after watching the new movie (which I LOVE). I couldn’t remember the book super well and I was curious to see how closely the new movie stuck to the book. I’m happy to say the movie is one of the best book-to-screen adaptions I’ve seen as it stuck almost verbatim to the majority of the book.

15. The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall: An utter waste of time.

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